Posts Tagged ‘Lebron James’

The Point Four-ward: Backcourt Bliss

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

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First off, if you haven’t listened to Nate, Tom and Ben’s mid-season Cavs: The Podcast, what are you waiting for??

Four points I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Kyrie Irving is really winning me back over this season.

While everyone (CtB included) was quick to heap praise on the performance of newly-acquired center Timofey Mosgov in the Cavs 108-94 victory over the Chicago Bulls, Monday night, for me, was all about Irving.

It wasn’t his greatest shooting performance (7-16 for 18 points and only got to the free throw line four times) but watching Irving play surrounded by talent is to remember just the type of amazing plays he’s capable of on an every-time-down-the-floor basis. In fact — and it pains me to say this — he may have already passed LeBron James in that regard.

This is not to say that Irving is a better player than James. The Cavs recent losing streak with James out showed that, no, Irving still does not know how to win in this league. Too often, his brand of hero ball seems to send the Cavs to the wrong side of the win/loss column. He walks the ball up too much rather than pushing it. But, as we saw from Irving in the FIBA tournament this summer, when he seems to feel more trust in the players around him, Irving can look like one of the best players in the league.

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Culty Catch Up: Finding The Cavs

Sunday, January 18th, 2015
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The elbow area of the floor has been so empty and cold lately.

Each week there is a ton of NBA media pertaining to the Cavs and the league in general that deserves recognition. A lot of it goes unread because there just isn’t enough time to keep up with it. Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered with six to eight notable reads/videos (the last two reads are up in the air just like the Cavs bench production this season) from the past seven days to get you through the weekend feeling entertained, caught up, and much smarter. I’ll throw in Earl’s Pearl of the Week and some other features to add to the entertainment.

Throughout life people are constantly trying to find themselves. It’s a day-to-day process and encompasses all sorts of choices. For example, a few days ago I was sporting a homeless man sized beard and was having a facial hair crisis. I felt fierce when I looked in the mirror and was able to realistically contemplate putting beads of some form near my face. My beard was full of possibilities; however, I also realized that it’s not right to let people stare at me and wonder if I’m homeless

So I went to the barber shop. After twenty minutes, I walked out with a smooth face. I felt jolly. And, since the Cavs won that night and the next night against the Clippers, I have decided that that’s a sign I made the right choice. I found myself that day at the shop, even if it was just a tiny bit. That discovery may change though (maybe when the Cavs lose again or I stare at this photo too long) and that’s okay. Everything is constantly changing. Hopefully, the King understands that. (more…)

Lessons from the Bench

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

We’ve all been thinking a lot about David Blatt, lately. Questions float around in our head… Why isn’t this working? Is it the players? Is it the coach? Is it the waning moon? Did I move my life-size cutout of LeBron too close to my stuffed Moondog, and thus cancel out their energies? It’s true that there’s no single reason the Cavs are struggling. A new person is assigned as blame tampon each week…. Mike Miller, Delly, Sir C.C., Kevin Love, and this week, David Blatt. Having a little bit of coaching experience, myself, I thought I’d offer some advice. You see, I’ve coached girl’s basketball for the last three years as my oldest has matriculated from third to fifth, so I can empathize with what coach Blatt is going through. Coaching in the NBA is a lot like coaching fifth grade girls, right?

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The Point Four-ward: A Personal Blatt-ack?

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

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If you haven’t read David Wood’s excellent recap of last night’s loss to the Suns, get on it!

Four points I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) The fallout over David Blatt’s comments after the Cavs loss in Sacramento that Kevin Love is “not a max player yet” should come as a surprise to no one. Blatt has always been known as a fiery guy who, thus far in his career (storied abroad, though it may be) hasn’t had to deal with as many of the finer points of player ego-massaging as he has this season, his first in the NBA. While he has ladled freely from the soup of praise when talking about his players, Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, in particular, there was bound to be a moment when Blatt, understandably frustrated following a 19-point drubbing by a Kings squad where his team played unengaged, uninspired and… well, basically un-anything-good, would release a little steam. Unfortunately, his pressure check was in front of the media and at the apparent expense of the player who, should he leave after just one season in wine and gold, would leave the team with a lot of gold — from the yolk running down their collective face — to show for it.

Do I think Blatt thinks Love is a bad player? Absolutely not. I think Blatt believes his starting power forward is a very talented offensive player — one of the more versatile offensive bigs in the league — but to say that Blatt, in his most private moments, is without criticism of Love is probably unrealistic, as well. Blatt later backpedaled saying that what he meant was that Love has not yet signed a max contract with the Cavs and didn’t want to be accused of tampering by suggesting that those kind of discussions were had with Love.

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The Point Four-ward: New Year’s Daze

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic

 

Four points I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) A lot of what I’m going to say here is anecdotal rather than analytical. These are points and ideas born from conversations I’ve been having over the last couple of holiday weeks. They are more temperature-taking than anything else but, as with other recent Cavaliers seasons, I’ve found it useful to see exactly at what point the fan base (and myself) go completely off the rails. That point could well be now.

The overriding feeling of those I’m talking to is the same as mine: these Cavs just aren’t any fun.

And it’s not looking to get any more fun if, as reported today, LeBron James misses the next two weeks nursing a holiday cookie tray of injuries (or, more precisely, diagnosed strains to his ailing knee and back).

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Recap: Cleveland 95, Brooklyn 91 (or it’s Mike time)

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

If I must make an obligatory nod to Miller brewing company and “Miller Time,” (as every Northeast Ohio sportswriter is tempted to do, tonight) let me just remind everyone that High Life is the champagne of beers. Now that we have that out of the way, the Cavs beat the Nets in an ugly one that saw Kevin Love go 1-10 and still have one of his best games as a Cavalier. David Blatt successfully pushed the right coaching buttons by starting Mike Miller and moving Shawn Marion to the bench. Miller scored 21 on 7-8 from three point land, while Marion added a much needed eight points off the pine. Cleveland outrebounded the Nets 44-37 and went 24-29 from the free throw line. Cleveland overcame Joe Johnson’s 26 points and 69% True Shooting and a 47% to 40% field goal percentage disparity. LeBron added some clutch fourth quarter play, and the Cavs overcame some bad crunch time offense to outlast the Nets and notch a much needed home win.

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The Point Four-ward: Flat Tops and Crazy Eyes

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Two separate reports Tuesday could have bearing on the Cavs’ current search for a perimeter defender. First, Chris Haynes from Northeast Ohio Media Group (via The Plain Dealer) reported that the Cavs had moved on from attempts to trade for Minnesota swingman Corey Brewer. The Timberwolves, hit with injuries to key wing players Kevin Martin and Ricky Rubio, are now reticent to move Brewer, their best perimeter defender (though Andrew Wiggins might have something to say about that soon).

The other bit came from Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, who reported that basically the entire New York Knicks roster has been put on the trading block. While the Knicks would prefer to part ways with J.R. Smith (Really?? Nooooo….), the Knick who might actually be a good fit with the wine and gold is fourth year shooting guard, Iman Shumpert.

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Reminder: LeBron still does impossible stuff

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Hi, it’s me. Thick in the middle of law school finals (had one today, have another tomorrow, and the last one on Friday), so time hasn’t been my friend of late. I still wanted to get in on this little bit of absurdity. The fun starts at the 2:22 mark of the video above (props, as always, to @DawkinsMTA)

Off a Kemba Walker fast-break layup, LeBron grabs the inbounds pass, gets into a full quarterback stance, and heaves the ball from just inside the Cavs’ free-throw line to Kyrie, who made a ridiculous layup in traffic. (I’m fairly sure Kyrie makes more layups off damn near the top of the backboard than anyone else in the league.) Oh, and LeBron threw that with his left hand.

It’s pretty well-known at this point that LeBron does everything but shoot a basketball left-handed, and his ability to drive and finish with his left hand has always been a vital and underrated part of what makes him great, but that’s freaking ludicrous.

As has been mentioned, LeBron’s pretty clearly past his physical prime — he’s not the holy-christ jumper he used to be, and, more importantly, he doesn’t have enough in his legs to compete on both ends for the full game the way he used to. This began in earnest last season (I said as much on this CBS.com podcast! Don’t listen to the part where I say Golden State was dramatically overvaluing Klay Thompson. Just focus on where I say LeBron is past his physical prime. I am so often wrong.), especially the defense part, but nobody really noticed it because people are slow to change their opinions on how good perimeter defenders are  (even GMs — seriously, guys?), and the Heat’s offense got LeBron the ball in positions where he had a deep post-up or an outright layup or dunk, minimizing the need for him to slice all the way through defenses like he did in his first stint with the Cavs.

The point here is that even though LeBron’s crazy dunks are probably gone, he’s still a player capable of doing insane, insane things, and we should appreciate them.

(I’d say I’d like to see more of the kind of action we get at the 2:10 mark of the above video, where LeBron gets an easy layup after catching Lance Stephenson cheating a screen, but that play was entirely thanks to Al Jefferson. His man is setting a screen, LeBron is basically scratching his back, and he’s just standing still and staring straight ahead, thinking about muffins. Never change, Big Al.)

The Point Four-ward: Catch Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…

First off, if you haven’t read Ben’s excellent recap of last night’s big come from behind win against the Raptors, what are you waiting for??

1.) Read the following quote from Cavs head coach David Blatt:

“I think it’s important that you know how to catch yourself. We didn’t have an easy time in the first half and we caught ourselves at halftime. We recognized what we were doing wrong and what we needed to improve and we did that. We had very little defensive intensity.”

Now, tell me, what game that came from.

Okay, it’s not like it was so long ago. That was Blatt speaking after the Cavs 110-88 win in Brooklyn on Monday night. But it could have easily come from last night’s win against the Raptors, as well.

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Recap: Cavs 110, Nets 88 (or, Prince and Princess, meet the King)

Monday, December 8th, 2014

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Brook Lopez (back) and Joe Johnson (illness) sat out for the Nets and the Cavs rode a monster third quarter — and Dion Waiters’s best game of the season — to an easy win, their seventh in a row, Monday night in Brooklyn.

Here’s what happened:

1st Quarter:

The Cavs looked to Kevin Love early again and he responded scoring the team’s first four points. But the Cavs were practically inviting the Nets to score around the basket and LeBron James was sluggish early. His first shot was a long three that barely made it there. Then, after Allan Anderson beat LeBron James and Shawn Marion in transition leading the Cavs to call a quick time-out, James air-balled a three.

Love continued to be the Cavs’ only steady hand on offense, as the 6-10 power forward used an even mixture of post moves and outside shooting to account for 15 of the Cavs eventual 22 first quarter points.

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